It will be the first of its kind in Canada; a specialized treatment centre for children who have been sexually abused. This week, it’s one step closer to reality, since Little Warriors has put a deposit down to secure the location for the Be Brave Ranch.
The ranch will be on a secure location in central Alberta. The property boasts 40 picturesque acres of land. A calming spot tucked away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and a perfect place for children who’ve been through the unthinkable to begin to heal.
“It’s emotional to come here,” admits Glori Meldrum, founder of Little Warriors. “There’s no doubt about that.”
Monday, a select few were invited to tour the property for the first time. The group included many people who have helped make the ranch a reality, and a very special guest who could very soon experience the benefits of the Be Brave Ranch.
“One of my favourite things about it is the privacy of the rooms,” says 9-year-old ‘K’.
‘K’ was sexually abused by a family member. She and her mother flew across Canada to see the ranch for themselves.
“She has the ups and the downs and this was definitely part of her healing journey… to see what could be,” reveals ‘K’s mother.
If Little Warriors can raise enough funding, the Be Brave Ranch will be a retreat and treatment centre for young survivors of sexual abuse. Each child would spend 30 days there, in a program developed specially for them.
“Play therapy, art therapy, music therapy, equine therapy… so it’s going to be about healing the mind, body and spirit of the child,” explains Meldrum.
“They lose their innocence and their trust. They deserve a place to get better,” she says.
“This is such a big project; raising money, building something that’s never been built and developing the programs to go with it, and I just know it’s the right thing to do, and all the right people, and all the right gifts will be given to us.”
Meldrum has based the concept for the ranch and its programming on experience. She’s a survivor herself. When ‘K’ heard about her, she felt an immediate connection.
“She saw Glori’s name, started to YouTube her and watched her videos and learned as much as she could,” says ‘K’s mom.
Then, ‘K’ decided to write Glori a letter.
“Her letter that she had written me – and keep in mind she’s 9-years-old – was that she was sexually abused and that she is not a victim, she’s a victor,” shares Meldrum. “It took me 30 years to learn that I had that kind of power in my own self.”
“She is the most amazing person I’ve ever met in my life.”
The admiration is mutual.
“Glori’s my hero and she’s really inspiring me,” says ‘K’.
This little girl is already finding some joy at the ranch; playing outside with the horses and on the trails.
“It makes me feel happy. Sometimes it makes me feel a bit emotional. But it feels wonderful,” ‘K’ shares. She’s also sharing some of her thoughts by writing about her experiences.
“The doctors and therapies need to be in one spot so the kids don’t have to travel around so much. I know it’s stressful, because that’s what I have done on my journey,” she writes.
It’s a journey that is far from over, and one that ‘K’ hopes will lead to healing, possibly at the Be Brave Ranch.
“She said – when everybody leaves, can I go pick my room?” reveals Meldrum, “and I said sure … hopefully she’ll be one of the first kids to get to use this facility.”
‘K’ is encouraging other kids to find the courage to come forward.
“You just have to believe in yourself. If the first person doesn’t believe you, tell another person. You deserve to be heard. You are loved, you have courage, I believe in you.”
Little Warriors needs a total of $3.4 Million to close the property purchase. So far, they have $1.2 Million. Visit the organization’s website to learn more or to donate.
‘K’ has raised $34 on her own for the ranch, through a lemonade stand.
With files from Su-Ling Goh